The Voyage of the Beagle’s title refers to the second survey expedition of the ship HMS Beagle, which set sail from Plymouth Sound on 27 December 1831 under the command of Captain Robert FitzRoy, R.N..
While the expedition was originally planned to last two years, it lasted almost five—the Beagle did not return until 2 October 1836. Darwin spent most of this time exploring on land (three years and three months on land; 18 months at sea).
The book, also known as Darwin’s Journal of Researches, is a vivid and exciting travel memoir. It is also a detailed scientific field journal covering biology, geology, and anthropology that demonstrates Darwin’s keen powers of observation, written at a time when Western Europeans were exploring and charting the whole world.
Darwin’s notes made during the voyage include comments illustrating his changing views at a time when he was developing his theory of evolution by natural selection.